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New Cirro suite promises 'big data' management for business users

Delaney Rebernik, Contributor

Startup data management company Cirro Inc. has unveiled a new software suite that promises to make it easier for rank-and-file business users to access and analyze "big data" stores.

The new software suite

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features a federated query engine that enables non-technical business analysts to combine big data stores with more traditional information sources, Cirro CEO Mark Theissen said in an interview. The idea is to make it easier for business users to take on big data management projects.

The Cirro product suite attempts to ease navigation by creating a single, user-friendly point of entry that allows users to "access any data, on any platform, in any environment" without concrete programming knowledge, according to Cirro.

"We believe that the answer is to take the processing to the data," Theissen said. "We've taken a fresh approach to how do you federate query processing across multiple environments."

The new product suite includes Cirro Analyst for Excel, a Microsoft Excel plug-in that allows business users to process big data subsets along with other types. Theissen described the plug-in as an "analyst workbench" that enables data exploration, analysis and publishing in an unassuming and familiar spreadsheet format.

"Customers like that ease of use with the Excel plug-in because if you're an analyst person, all you have to know really is what data you want and what you want to do with it," explained Theissen.

For more on big data management:

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Get all the details about Network Rail's implementation of the Informatica platform.

In addition to streamlining analytic integration and analysis of various data types, Cirro's mission to "bring big data to the desktop" entails providing customers with a platform that helps users make progress with the technology they already have in-house.

"The [customers] don't want to be told that they have to completely retool themselves to be able to pursue something like big data," Thiessen said. "I think they want to be able to leverage those investments they've already made in their pursuit of success."

Cirro is currently working with customers in health care, retail and entertainment, and will be launching its formal partner program in the coming months.

"We've focused on the business problems around what it takes to make big data useful for the business community," Thiessen said. "This [suite is] designed with big data in mind, and it's designed and architected for flexibility, and also to integrate existing technologies that customers are already using."

Best Buy Canada picks Stibo for PIM

In other data management news, Best Buy Canada recently adopted Stibo Systems Inc. product information management (PIM) platform in an effort to improve customer service.

With Stibo Systems' STEP platform, Best Buy Canada, which runs 225 consumer electronic stores, hopes to "drive more accurate and consistent product information" across a multitude of channels, simplifying item setup and data management for its websites.

The company is using Stibo step to create a central repository of the most current and up-to-date product information. The idea is to improve customer service by ensuring sales representatives have access to the more current and pertinent product information, regardless of their department or geographic location.

"Today, more than ever, the ability to react and execute faster is critical to assure that the right product is available at the right place and across a variety of devices," Stibo Systems President Andreas Lorenzen said in a statement.

Datameer makes big data available for academic research

Datameer Inc. recently launched a free license of its data analytics application, which allows end users to analyze "any type, size or source" of data for qualifying academic research.

The program is intended to enable an increased focus on research. Rather than shouldering researchers with the laborious process of collecting and analyzing data, Datameer uses the open source Apache Hadoop distributed computing platform. Hadoop acts an end-user focused tool that allows for processing of large data sets that can be accessed in a spreadsheet-like format.

Dr. Douglas Grubb, of Hall, Germany's Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, is one researcher who has benefitted from the program. He is using Datameer to analyze RNA structures in certain plant genomes.

"Datameer lets me focus on my research rather than complex data storage or analytics infrastructure. This will significantly increase the pace at which we can conduct meaningful scientific research," Dr. Grubb said in a press release.

Network Rail enlists Informatica Platform to improve data value

Network Rail (NR) has chosen Informatica Corp.'s Informatica Platform to help it enhance data quality for its ORBIS (Offering Rail Better Information Services) program.

The ORBIS program is in place to bolster NR's "Asset Information" services business unit, which collects, analyzes and distributes information about Britain's approximately 22,000 miles of railways. NR hopes the Informatica Platform will raise the value of data being collected by ensuring consistent, accurate and timely data across Network Rail's systems.

NR, which is using Informatica for master data management and data quality purposes, plans to introduce a "golden record" that offers employees current information about the location and condition of each track asset, including switches and crossings. The goal is to use that information to improve rail maintenance processes.

Future ORBIS projects are expected to integrate assets across the board into a single Rail Infrastructure Network Model to increase network capability through deeper understanding of asset interaction.

"Having more accurate and reliable information will enable [workers] to make better informed business decisions," Patrick Bossert, director of Network Rail's Asset Information services, said in a press release.


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